Self-care means paying attention to our physical, mental, and emotional needs, and proactively taking the steps needed to meet those needs.
Our lives seem to be busier and more demanding than ever before. With constant access to everyone and everything it seems impossible to take a step back from it all. I often ask my patients during our sessions, “When was the last time you did something to take care of yourself?” I typically get a laugh or a blank stare, like I must be crazy for even asking this. The truth is, a little self care can go a long way.
Self care is essential to living a balanced life. Practicing self care regularly can produce positive feelings which make us happy and lead to reduced stress. Self care can even improve our confidence and self-esteem.
So I challenge you to think about the last time you did something for YOU. Was it minutes ago? Days? Weeks? Please don’t tell me months or even years! How can we possibly take on all the challenges of our day without learning self-care. We worry so much about taking care of others (parents, kids, siblings, friends, pets etc.) we forget sometimes that it is okay to put ourselves FIRST! So schedule the time in your calendar and make it happen!
Here are some ideas of how to spend that time:
- Spa night– get a face mask on amazon ($2), light a candle, play some relaxing music and lay in a quiet dark room. You will not only clear your mind, your skin will thank you too!! I used to do this with my mom growing up on Sundays, it was the perfect way to get ready for the week ahead and spend time together.
- Dance party– Sometimes I will come home early to an empty house and put on my comfy clothes, turn on some loud pop music and just dance around the house. It makes me feel like a kid again and all my worries just float away.
- Girl’s night– Sometimes all you need is girl time! I will set a date for a workout class with a friend or go on a hike, whatever I feel like. Catching up with people who we haven’t seen in awhile can make us feel much better and more socially connected lives lead to happiness.
- Massage– I always get a massage gift card for Christmas and then whenever I feel the stress building up in my neck and shoulders I schedule the appointment. Our bodies are sooooo good to us… it is nice to give back.
- Yoga – of course the mind body benefits of yoga are well known by now. Yoga is the perfect workout to incorporate with other more difficult ones or on its own. I love taking my yoga practice outdoors and feeling grounded with nature.
- Learn to meditate– I have recently learned to meditate and it has been a life changer. Anytime throughout my day I feel stressed I can go back to that moment of clarity.
- Journal– I always feel that writing down my goals and my accomplishments makes me feel better. If I occasionally check in on how I am doing then I can keep moving forward.
- Cook a delicious meal– I am a huge advocate for cooking healthy and all the benefits that come along with it. I love trying out a new recipe or just throwing together things in my fridge. Try cooking with your significant other, kids, or family! It’s a great way to spend some time together. Tip-don’t take it too seriously! If your cooking night turns into a Pinterest fail…order takeout!
- Paint, color, learn to knit, draw or whatever you enjoy just let your creativity flow. I love calling up my sister or a friend and spending an afternoon painting. While I may not be the best, it allows me to get out my creativity and I love the feeling at the end knowing I created something.
- Take a walk. Sometimes our bodies are exhausted and we don’t feel like working out, this is when you need to listen to your body. Take your dog or your friend and start walking. Living in the city it is so fun to just go a different way and explore a new neighborhood. When our minds see new things we experience happiness.
Take care of yourself and love yourself. It may be the hardest, but most important lesson to learn.
Comment below on your self-care tips!!